Blog Entry

Damage control

Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:25 pm
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Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers' agent, Joe Flanigan from BTI Sports, sent out a long e-mail to members of the media in order to stem the tide of negative press about his client's surgically-repaired right knee. Below is the text of the message, which obviously puts a positive spin on a difficult situation.

Multiple NFL front-office personnel also confirmed to NFLDraftScout.com that Bowers passed their physical, but these sources may also be wary about the overall status of the knee.


"While we generally reserve discussions on client medical information to club decision-makers and physicians, in the interest of clarity, we would like to share the following facts regarding Da'Quan BowersWhile we generally reserve discussions on client medical information to club decision-makers and physicians, in the interest of clarity, we would like to share the following facts regarding Da'Quan Bowers. Importantly, NONE of the following is news to NFL decision-makers or team doctors. All 32 NFL Clubs have had full access to Da'Quan's records since January and have had the opportunity to physically examine him at least twice. As such, they have known the specifics detailed below for quite some time.

On January 4, 2011, Da'Quan underwent an arthroscopic procedure that included what is, technically, a very small chondroplasty to a non-weight bearing area of his knee. The surgeon, Dr. Larry Bowman, observed, arthroscopically, a very healthy knee with no signs of arthritis. Based on the specifics of Da'Quan's knee and the small size of the area addressed, it was described to us as follows: while chondroplasty can involve "drilling", Da'Quan had the equivalent of "scratching".  In other words, along the continuum, it was very minor.  So minor that Da'Quan was off crutches and bearing weight only 3 days after surgery.  Thereafter, Da'Quan progressed on a conservative rehab protocol that emphasized protection of the healing process, as opposed to the typical combine prep performance training.

As to his progress and the feedback from the medical recheck, every team we've spoken to, including multiple GMs, has said that, overall, Da'Quan's knee has shown good healing, has continued to get better since the Combine, and, perhaps most importantly, showed absolutely no acute or remote ill-effects as a result of his April 1 workout (i.e. no swelling, no increase in laxity, etc.).  We know of at least two "stations" (multiple doctors) at the recheck who improved his grade from the Combine.  In short, their doctors indicated that the fact that the knee didn't swell up after a full pro-day workout, followed immediately by a week of visiting teams via air travel (which can increase swelling) is clearly a very positive sign. Bottom line: if it's holding up from a pounding in April, it should clearly hold up in August.

As to films, the Combine films showed no onset of arthritis and since Da'Quan had no swelling, contrary to some reports, or other symptoms at the recheck, no new films were taken.

At the recheck, there was the expected finding of a strength deficit in his right (surgical) leg as compared to his left, as measured by the Cybex test. But each person who has mentioned this deficit has also stated the following: (1) that this deficit is simply a muscular deficit due to "detraining effects" (lost strength because he was limited by rehab protocol), (2) that Da'Quan will regain his normal strength in the right leg, and (3) that there are questions as to the validity of isokinetic testing like the Cybex in the first place. So, as with all the findings, each club will weight this very differently.

The reality is that clubs will ultimately judge Da'Quan's workout on April 1 and the recheck in the context of the training limitations placed upon him by the medical team overseeing his rehab, including Dr. James Andrews.  The fact that Da'Quan spent the VAST majority of his time prior to April 1 focused on rehabilitation, NOT performance or strength training, is significant.  This focus was designed to ensure complete healing and protect the long-term integrity of Da'Quan's knee, something that benefits both Da'Quan and the club that selects him. And, in this context, while his numbers were not satisfactory to Da'Quan or indicative of his true athleticism, he still managed to perform a 34.5" vertical jump and a 7.1 three-cone on raw ability.

Obviously, sources and opinions on any prospect with a medical history will vary from team to team, doctor to doctor, trainer to trainer and GM to GM. We have received no reports of "arthritis" being present. We have received no indications that Da'Quan will need another surgery. No team has even remotely suggested to us that he's a risk in year one or will need a redshirt year.  Clearly there are both objective and subjective sides to every medical issue.  Given that context, we understand that comfort-levels will vary team by team.  Dr. Andrews' comfort-level was such that he said Da'Quan should "be able to resume his professional football career without any problems" and that he has a "good prognosis for his career."

Again, NONE of this is news to the NFL decision-makers or team doctors. All 32 NFL Clubs have had full access to Da'Quan's records since January and have had the opportunity to physically examine him at least twice.  With this knowledge, Top 10 teams brought him in all last week and continue to bring Da'Quan in for visits this week. All of these clubs are strongly considering selecting him with their first pick, not based upon a potential medical downside, but because of Da'Quan's film, smarts, character and tremendous physical upside."


-Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

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